Kim's Reviews > Give Up the Ghost

Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
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Jan 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: paranormalfiction, ya
Read in January, 2010

Give Up the Ghost is a clever and poignant tale of love, loss, and falling off the high school hierarchy.

Cass McKenna has had the ability to speak to ghosts ever since her older sister, Paige, drowned on the night of her junior prom. She uses this ability to talk to the ghosts who hang around her high school and get the gossip on all the "poseurs;" ghosts, after all, see everything while remaining unseen themselves, and in a sense, through them Cass can as well. Years ago, Cass was betrayed by her best friend Danielle, and since then, she has had less interest in befriending the living than exposing their hypocrisy and lies. That is, until, the vice president of the student council figures out Cass's ability, and asks for her help. Can Cass break out of her isolationist tendencies to give Tim the help he desperately needs?

This is one of those books where a great deal more is going than initially seems to be the case. Cass is the epitome of a flawed character, one whose thoughts and feelings can be easy to relate to, but whose acts are difficult to justify. I remember too well all the betrayals and arguments of middle school, and how even the pettiest of conflicts seemed colossal back then. I remember what it was like not to be one of the beautiful people back in high school, and how tempting it would have been to bring some of them down. But Cass spends her life trying to do so, and when she has exposed one person's secret, she takes no joy in it, but simply moves on to the next victim. One could argue that the "victims" deserve it---the secrets Cass shares tend to involve acts of cruelty or deception---but Cass has become so single-minded that she no longer has any friends among the living or "breathers" as she calls them. In fact, when she is sought out by one of the living, Tim, she doesn't know how to react, even though they share a bond of loss. That Cass was not at all sympathetic towards Tim, who just lost his mother, to cancer baffled and angered me at first. But then I recognized this for a sign of Cass's personal detachment. There's a lot of character development going on here.

Give Up the Ghostis more than it seems on the surface. There's a great deal of humor, the story is very fast paced, and Cass is someone easy to relate to if not to admire. Although it has a paranormal premise, at times this book reminded me a great deal of the movie "Mean Girls" and of Harriet the Spy. It's a book that handles serious issues in a thoughtful and engaging way.
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